The Molly Fry Story
Marian Molly Fry, M.D. University of California Irvine, School of Medicine, 1985. Physician, small town family practice; wife and mother. Condition: breast cancer; busted; condemned.
Physicians are the experts in the medical marijuana debate, because the issue is ultimately based on the medical value and risks of marijuana. And physicians, with their medical training and clinical work, have the best knowledge of marijuana's medical value and risks. They are the ones who are best able to design and conduct studies and evaluate the results.
This is why the State of California, in the California Health and Safety Code, has established the University of California, one of the best research institutions in the world, as the appropriate place to study marijuana. The Code spells out procedures for UC doctors and researchers to apply to the state for quantities of marijuana seized in drug raids for use in medical studies. The first study has been done at UCSF, and the results are published in the journal Neurology, proving the medical efficacy of marijuana. Numerous studies have now been done that prove marijuana kills or inhibits the growth of malignant cancer cells! See Velasco, Carracedo, et. al., 2007, "Cannabinoids and Gliomas." Many more studies are currently under way.
The National Institute of Medicine, in 1999, did a study with medical marijuana and issued a report, "Marijuana as Medicine: Assessing the Science Base." In part, it concluded: "The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation (and therefore) would be moderately well suited for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and AIDS wasting."
The 124,000 member American College of Physicians, in a 13 page statement approved by the College's governing board and posted on their website, calls on the federal government to drop marijuana from Schedule I, where it is presently classified as more dangerous than addictive narcotics, cocaine, barbiturates and amphetamines. The ACP statement also calls for protection of both doctors and patients from civil and criminal penalties in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Yet, the federal government continues to ignore physicians and the mounting body of scientific evidence, including that of its own National Institute of Medicine, and continues to state for the record that such evidence does not exist. On April 20, 2006, the FDA released this statement: "Marijuana has high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. A past evaluation...concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States."
With heads in the sand, insisting the world is flat, the feds continue to raid doctor's offices, seize patient's medical records, arrest and prosecute physicians who choose to honor their oath and work for the best interest of their patients by prescribing marijuana. Physicians are intimidated, afraid to think and act freely with regard to marijuana.
From 1996-2002, Doctor Marian Molly Fry saw more than 7000 medical marijuana patients. "When I became a doctor I took an oath to do what was best for my patients, not an oath of allegiance to the government or politics," says doctor Fry.
"And I took an oath to do no harm. If a doctor is willing to give you a prescription for a drug that is addictive or could kill you, then why should we not be able to choose a non-toxic drug like marijuana?" Many of her patients are using marijuana as an alternative to toxic or addictive drugs.
In response to Doctor Fry's compassion and courage to serve medical marijuana patients, in 2001, the US Drug Enforcement Administration raided Doctor Fry's office, seized Patient's medical records--the confidentiality of which has complete legal protection under the law--arrested Doctor Fry and her husband, lawyer Dale Schafer, who had been providing legal information and an occasional marijuana plant to patients.
Doctor Fry's prescription writing priveleges were revoked by the DEA in December, 2002. A DEA report said Doctor Fry's prescription writing priveleges were "inconsistent with the public interest." In the summer of 2007, she was brought to trial in federal court in Sacramento. The case concluded without the jury being able to hear Doctor Fry's medical history or medical opinions and scientific evidence regarding marijuana. The jury never heard that Doctor Fry had met with and been encouraged in her work by county narcotics officers. The jury never heard that Doctor Fry had met with California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, more than once, to discuss her work with marijuana, or that Lockyer had expressed his approval and had not discouraged her.
Federal prosecutors have thus far been successful at keeping medical evidence and history out of the record in medical marijuana trials. In fact, medical evidence has never once been allowed into the record at any federal medical marijuana trial. Not one single jury in a federal medical marijuana case has ever heard the medical or scientific evidence regarding marijuana! The feds are not interested in the truth or open discussion. In some cases, after the trial, jurors have said they would have voted differently if they had heard medical history or evidence.
Doctor Fry and her husband were found guilty. They will both spend a minimum of five years in prison, for showing the compassion and courage to do what is right.
Molly Fry is a hero and the kind of doctor who should be at home with her five kids, and in her office serving the community, not languishing in prison. Two compassionate professionals have been taken from our midst and a family has been destroyed. Molly Fry is a cancer patient. Dale Schafer is a hemophiliac. In prison they will not be given the prescription medications they require. Both will probably die in prison. And the feds would have us believe that this is in the public interest.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has chosen to target and make a public example of Doctor Fry, and others like her, who honor their oath and prescribe medical marijuana for their patients. When the feds intimidate and harm physicians and spread fear in the medical community, it is no different from the tactics of mobsters and terrorists. Many physicians would advocate and prescribe marijuana, if they were not afraid of similar treatment by the feds.
One oncologist at a San Francisco hospital, when he became aware of how much relief marijuana gave his chemo patients, began providing it for them, rather than watch them suffer. He was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison, for honoring his oath and trying to relieve the suffering of his patients. Oncologists I've worked with at UCSF who knew him were terrified of receiving the same treatment. Though they knew how much benefit their own patients received from marijuana, they would not openly recommend marijuana or write marijuana prescriptions. They would not even refer patients directly to me for therapy and counseling. It became necessary to find another doctor willing to be an intermediary. The oncologists referred chemo patients to him so he could write their prescriptions and refer them to me, creating a buffer of deniability for the oncologists.
There is something wrong with this picture. Do we really want the government to frighten and intimidate our doctors? To decide which medicines and treatments they can administer? The research they can pursue? Do we want our doctors living in such fear of the federal government that they must hide their activities and use cutouts to protect themselves?
Every physician in the USA who has ever thought about prescribing marijuana also thinks about the treatment some of their colleagues have received at the hands of the feds.